This blog will demonstrate the installation of our Wood Plantation Shutter Tension Kit.


Loss of tension in a Plantation Shutter panel is noticeable when the Louvers will not stay in the position that the operator places them in.  Before we get into the nuts and bolts of installing tension springs, let’s make sure you need them! First, look to see if the manufacturer fabricated your shutter panels with tensions screws.  Tension screws will be recessed on the outside edge of the shutter stile (vertical member of shutter frame), adjacent to a Louver.  If your shutter panel has tension screws, simply tighten them with a Phillips head screwdriver.  By turning this screw, you are adding tension to the Louver.  Tension is then transferred all Louvers because they are all attached to the same Tilt Rod. If the screw turns, but never tightens, it is likely that it is stripped.  Removing this screw and installing a longer one will often do the trick.  If your shutter panel was not constructed with tension screws, or the longer screw method does not work, then installing tension springs is the next best option.
For your convenience, Shutter Medic® provides a Tension Kit that includes all the parts necessary to tension your shutter panel(s).
Items you will need to accomplish this task are:

Needle Nose Pliers
Masking Tape
Utility Knife

Tension Springs are installed in one stile (left or right) behind one or more of the Louver pins that support the louvers in the shutter panel.  These tension springs push against the louver pin and push the Louver into the opposite stile.  This action creates added tension between the Louver and stile.  Since all the Louvers are attached to a single Tilt Rod, this tension is transferred to all the Louvers keeping them in a desired position. 
The number of tension springs required will vary depending on the panel size, Louver size, and total number of Louvers in the panel.  It is recommended that you follow the installation instructions that follow on a single Louver.  Add tension springs to additional Louvers until desired results are achieved.  Also included in your kit are Tension Pins. Customers who would rather utilize tension pins instead of tension springs should refer to paragraph (A) below. 

Select a Louver.  You will first need to disconnect the Louver from the tilt rod by removing the shutter staple from the Louver.  To accomplish this task, first stabilize the Louver with your free hand.  Use needle nose pliers to grasp the crown of the staple, and pull it out.  A very slight twisting action can aid in the removal of the staple.  Caution!  Aggressive twisting of staple can cause damage to your Louver.  


It will only be necessary to cut one Louver pin in order to remove the Louver from the shutter panel.  It does not matter which pin is cut. Place the blade of your sharp utility knife between the end of the Louver and the inside of the stile.  Position the blade so it is resting on top of the nylon Louver pin.  Note that the pin has two different diameters separated by a flange.  Your blade should rest on the small diameter of the pin that enters the Louver.  Tap the blade with the end of a screwdriver handle and cut this pin in half.  Do not cut the nylon pin on the opposite side of the Louver. Remove the Louver from panel.  Remove the cut nylon pin from the stile.  The nylon pin that was not cut should be left in the Louver.  This pin will be needed to re-insert your Louver back into the shutter panel.


Remove the cut half of Nylon Louver Pin from Louver. If you are unable to remove this half of the nylon pin from the Louver we suggest pushing it in further.  Most manufacturers will drill the hole in the end of the Louver deeper than necessary. The Repair Pins that will be utilized only requires a hole of approximately 1/8 inch. If this does not work it will be necessary to drill into the pin utilizing a 1/16 inch drill bit.  Drill into the pin. When the bit bites into the pin stop the drill and pull the pin out.

Using a 5/32 inch drill bit, drill the Louver pin hole where you cut the pin to a depth of 1/8 inch.

Note:  If your Louvers were made with wood dowels, cut the dowel as outlined in step 1.  Using a sharp utility knife, carve any remaining dowel flush with the end of the Louver.  Use a 5/32 inch bit to drill hole in same location of dowel to a depth of 1/8 inch.


The hole in the Stile where the Louver pin was cut will need to accommodate our Louver repair pin.  First attempt to insert this repair pin into the hole.  If the Louver repair pin can be fully inserted up to the flange of the pin, then no modification is necessary to the hole.  If the diameter of the hole is too narrow or shallow, then it will be necessary to modify the hole.  Using a 1/4 inch diameter bit drill the hole to a width and or depth that will accommodate the pin.  


The hole in the Stile where the Louver pin was not cut will need to accommodate our Tension Spring.  Using the 1/4 inch bit, drill this hole to a depth of 7/8 inch.  To aid you in drilling the depth of the hole, wrap a piece of masking tape on the drill bit a distance of 7/8 inch from the tip of the bit.  Do not drill past the masking tape.  Insert the tension spring into hole.  
Note:  When inserted into hole, tension spring should be flush with inside surface of stile.


With the uncut Louver pin installed in the Louver, insert the uncut Louver Pin into the hole containing the Tension Spring.  Using your finger, push the repair pin into itself so it is flush with the inside surface of the stile. 
Pass the Louver over the repair pin.  When the pin finds the hole at the end of the Louver, the spring mechanism within the pin will secure the Louver in the panel.


If your tilt rod contains staples, then move your tilt rod and position your Louvers in the full open position.  Position the Louver that is missing a staple so that the staple holes in the leading edge of the Louver face the tilt rod.  With the Louvers in the full open position, gently roll the tilt rod to the right, then to the left.  Select the side that gives you the best access to the staple holes in your Louver.  Using your needle nose pliers, grasp the staple at the crown.  With the tilt rod rolled to one side, as described above, thread the staple through the tilt rod staple, and then into the two holes in the Louver.  It is important to push the staple straight in.  Take your time, and do not force the staple.  Use your free hand to hold the Louver so as not to place too much force on the Louver during staple insertion to prevent damaging the Louver.  After insertion, the Louver staple should stick out from Louver the same distance as shutter staples in the other Louvers.  If you notice that Louver staple is loose, applying a drop of Super Glue Gel to each leg of the shutter staple will lock the staple in place.


Continue adding additional tension springs as outlined in these instructions until the Louvers maintain position that operator places them in.

(A): Tension Pins.
Included in your tension kit are (12) nylon louver tension pins.   Installation of the tension pin would take the place of both the tension spring and the standard nylon louver pin in accordance with instruction above.  These pins contain fins that prevent the louver from rotating freely once installed.  We consider these pins a less than optimum method of increasing tension because they become less effective over time.  They do, however, negate the requirement of having to drill the hole in your stile deeper to accommodate a tension spring.

(B): Video Aid.
To watch a video demonstrating the procedures outlined in these instructions visit us online at The video is located here.